Last Beach Reads of the Summer

Well, Wickeds, summer is winding down, sad to say, and I’m wondering, what were your best reads of the summer, and what have you saved to savor over this Labor Day Weekend?

Edith: I’ve had such a good time catching up with the books in Rhys Bowen’s Molly NoPityfortheDeadMurphy series and Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mysteries, both set at the start of the 1900s in New York City. I hadn’t read some of the earlier books in Vicki’s and some of the later books in Rhys’ and I’m glad I did. What I’ll be savoring over Labor Day will be Nancy Herriman’s new No Pity for the Dead, which takes place in San Francisco in the 1860s, and then more catching up – this time with Catriona McPherson’s historical Dandy Gilver series. Yes, I am immersed in the past – and I like it that way!

Liz: I’ve got a bunch of books going right now, as usual. Loving Jennifer McMahon’s The Night Sister. I’m also really enjoying Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. I guess I’m embracing my inner introvert! Also reading Laura Lippman’s Wilde Lake on my iPad when I’m training it back and forth to NYC for work.

Jessie: Next up for me is A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar Suzanne Joinson and Death of a Kingfisher by M.C. Beaton.

agreatreckoningBarb: I’ll spend Labor Day weekend as I have for the past several years, reading a Louise Penny book. This year’s is A Great Reckoning. Cannot wait. I have spent much of the summer reading William Kent Krueger‘s Cork O’Connor series. I’m up to the sixth one and I am loving them. After Labor Day, it’s back to work. Reading The Shingle Style and the Stick Style: Architectural Theory and Design from Downing to the Origins of Wright, as Julia and the Snowden family debate whether to restore Windsholme, the mansion on their island in Maine. Not a hardship, truly!

Julie: I am getting ready to teach, so reading a lot of arts admin books including The Cycle by Michael Kaiser. Looking forward to William Kent Kruger at Crime Bake, so I’m going to start on his Cork O’Connor series.

SKYDIVE front sm FINALSherry Harris: Julie I just finished Boundary Waters by William Kent Kruger. His writing is like poetry. I’m very excited to be reading an advance copy of Sky Dive by Agatha Award nominated author Susan O’Brien! It’s the third book in her Nicki Valentine Mystery series and releases on 11/29/16. Susan has a knack for mixing humor, layered characters, and social issues into a seamless plot. This time Susan tackles the issue of what happens to foster children when they age out of the system. I’m almost done so next on my TBR pile is Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye — it comes highly recommended.

Readers: What will you be reading over the holiday weekend?



The Detective’s Daughter – The Summer Reading List



Kim in Baltimore surviving the heat.

What do Jaws, The Eye of the Needle, Where Are the Children, and Valley of the Dolls have in common? They are a few of the books I remember my mom reading when I was a child. Every day, whether she was sitting on the front steps or in the car waiting for Dad to come out of work, Mom was always reading a book.

Last summer, as I was moseying about in the East Village, I picked up a well-worn copy of Rosemary’s Baby in The Strand. By the next day I’d read it cover to cover. Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favorite movies and I remembered Mom reading the book years ago.image
Each week we took a trip to the Enoch Pratt library where Mom would walk out with an armful of novels she’d have read long before our next visit. By the time I was fourteen we were both reading Mary Higgens Clark, Phyllis Whitney and Barbara Michaels.

Throughout the years I’ve read Gone With the Wind more times than I can count. I have Mom’s battered copy locked on the shelves of my desk. I take it out just to hold sometimes, remembering Mom sitting in her folding chair, with her cigarettes and iced tea at her side, flipping the pages of the latest book she’d borrowed.

Dad was not much of a reader other than the morning and Sunday editions of The Baltimore Sun. However, one week Mom checked out The Godfather from the library and before she had her iced tea poured and her cigarette lit, Dad was absorbed in the novel. It’s the only book Mom and I ever recall seeing Dad read.

I’ve thought often about the books Mom has read and decided this summer to make them my reading list. I could cross off Rosemary’s Baby and Gone With the Wind; they are books I will read time and again. It wasn’t hard to come up with titles, but I needed to keep it compact. There’s only so many weeks in summer! Here’s what I came up with:image

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
Jaws by Peter Benchley
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
The Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
Neither Five Nor Three by Helen MacInnes
Window on the Square by Phyllis A. Whitney
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre

I’ve finished reading Valley of the Dolls and am well into the Phyllis Whitney book. I unfortunately began watching Mad Men the same time I was reading Dolls. It was depressing reading and seeing how little freedom and respect women were given. I don’t think I can bring myself to watch another episode of Mad Men!

As I’ve compiled these books and read through them I’ve thought about what these titles say about my mom. Why do we select the titles that we do? Why are some inclined to read only mystery while others enjoy the classics? Is the genre you prefer inherited or learned?
I spoke to Mom this morning and asked her why she chose certain books. “They seemed interesting,” she said. She wasn’t particularly aware if they were best sellers or if a movie deal was in the works, she just enjoyed reading. I think that’s the part I inherited.
Hope you’re enjoying your summer reading.

Readers: Please share with us the titles of books you have read more than once and why.

Ready Anything Good Lately?

Jessie: Sitting in a salty breeze on the coast of Maine.


IMG_0396It finally feels like summer here at the seaside. The roses are blooming, as is the lavendar. The smell of charcoal from nearby grills floats on the wind accompanied by the melody from ice cream trucks passing through the neighborhood.

And what is more emblematic of summer than a great beach read? I’ve been enjoying a bunch of them myself lately and thought I’d give a shout out to a few.

I’ve  just finished up Death Comes to Kurland Hall, the third in the Kurland St. Mary series by Catherine Lloyd. I’ve read the other two and found this one to be worth the wait. The setting and the cast of characters make me feel as though I’ve taken a trip back in time to an idyllic village in England.

I also devoured the first Veronica Speedwell mystery, A Curious Beginning, by Deanna Raybourn that I bought at Malice Domestic in May. Her self-sufficient heroine and her search for her roots made for a rollicking adventure just right for taking to the beach.

Night Shift,the third in the Midnight Texas series, by Charlaine Harris read like a visit with old friends. That is if your old friends have paranormal abilities and are inclined to have trouble seek them out.

And lastly, Shoot the Moon, by Billie Letts was a joy. Filled with secrets, families torn apart and join anew, small town life and big hearts, it made for a perfect companion whilst sitting on the sand.

Currently I am enjoying Black Irish by Stephan Talty. I plan to travel later in the summer to the Buffalo area and his setting there feels timely for me. Next up on my list is Tishomingo Blues by Elmore Leonard.

So readers, do you have anything you’d recommend tucked into your beach bag? Any books you read every summer? Any that remind you of summer in the depths of winter? I’d love to hear your list!

Wicked Good Summer Reads

Here’s what the Wickeds are reading as we get into beach season. What are you reading?

Liz: I have a whole list going! Next up is Edith’s ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part. Also in the pile is maplemayhemAlafair Burke’s All Day and a Night, and of course Jessie’s Maple Mayhem upon its release date!

Edith: Thanks, Liz! I’m just finishing Tempa Pagel‘s They Danced by the Light of the Moon, a mystery set in northeastern Massachusetts (where she and I both live) and southern New Hamphire, and in 1901 and the present (she’ll be guest posting here at the end of the month). And it’s beach_plumfabulous.

Next up is Holly Robinson‘s Beach Plum Island, also a kind of mystery. She’s a local author, too. Lots  and lots of talent up here north of Boston.




Jessie: I can’t recommend 18293427The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin enough. If I could have possibly found a large enough chunk of time it would have been a one sitting read for me.


And for a very summery read I am going to dive into Sea Glass Summer by Dorothy Cannell

Know the NightBarb: Right now I’m reading a not-quite-yet  published cozy for a blurb and dozens of crime short stories for Level Best Books next anthology. The book anxiously awaiting me on my nightstand is Maria Mutch’s memoir, Know the Night: A Story of Survival in the Small Hours about the two years Maria’s son, who is autistic and has Down Syndrome, couldn’t sleep, and how staying up all night with him affected Maria and her family. Drawing on her son’s love of jazz and her own affinity with explorer Richard Byrd who stayed alone through the long polar night, this book is both elegiac and emotional. I can’t wait to get to it.

Sherry: There are stacks of books all over my house — it’s getting a little desperate here — some are beginning to teeter. Next up for me is Buried in the Bog and Scandal in Skiberdeen. I’ve heard such great things about this series by Sheila Connolly so I can’t wait to dig in. I’m also anxiously awaiting the release of The Black Hour on July 8th by Lori Rader Day.

Craig JohnsonJulie: Aside from my Wicked Cozy Sistahs books, I am going to be reading the Longmire series by Craig Johnson. Craig is going to be the Guest of Honor at the New England Crime Bake this year, and I have the honor of doing an interview with him on Saturday afternoon. I am a fan of the TV series, and looking forward to reading the books. You will all be hearing more about this as we get closer to November. A Crime Bake note: Barb, Edith, and I are all on the committee. All six of us will be there. It is a great conference, already more that 50% sold out. So if you are interested, do not delay.

So, dear readers, what is on your summer reading list?

Wicked Good Beach Reads

Since we love to read at least as much as we love to write, the Wickeds have put together a list of beach reads to be shared once a week for the rest of the summer. Here are this week’s recommendations:IMG_0331

Edith: Death in the Time of Ice by Kaye George

Liz: The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

Sherry: Death in Four Courses by Lucy Burdette

Julie: Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly

Barb: The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

Jessie: The Bat by Jo Nesbo

Wicked Good Beach Reads

Since we love to read at least as much as we love to write, the Wickeds have put together a list of beach reads to be shared once a week for the rest of the summer. Here are this week’s recommendations:IMG_0799

Edith: Monument to the Dead by Sheila Connolly

Liz: Six Years by Harlan Coben

Sherry: Out of the Deep I Cry by Julia Spencer- Fleming

Julie:  The Perfect Ghost by Linda Barnes

Barb: Together Tea by Marian Kamali

Jessie: Wrath of Angels by John Connolly

Wicked Good Beach Reads

Since we love to read at least as much as we love to write, the Wickeds have put together a list of beach reads to be shared once a week for the rest of the summer. Here are this week’s recommendations:IMG_0662

Edith: The Body in the Piazza by Katherine Hall Page

Liz: Broken Harbor by Tana French

Sherry: Foal Play by Kathryn O’Sullivan

Julie: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Barb: The Clover House: A Novel by Henriette Lazaridis Power

Jessie: Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts